“I will make a lot of enemies. That’s the price of leadership.” That statement from presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, in a speech at the Maine Heritage Policy Center and reported by Steve Mistler, was so very wrong.

It was ironic that right next to Mistler’s story was Leon Gorman’s obituary. Gorman was a great leader, and he made no enemies. It was my privilege to know Leon, mostly because of L.L. Bean’s strong support for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, where I was executive director for 18 years. But I actually knew him well before that, and was always impressed with his quiet modesty, values, leadership skills and commitment to his business and the people of Maine.

You know his amazing story, taking L.L. Bean in his 34 years as chairman of the board from a $5 million to a $1.6 billion company, defined by its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. If you don’t like something you purchased at L.L. Bean, no matter what the reason, the store will take it back and give you a full refund. We sure don’t get that kind of guarantee from our politicians.

I sure do wish we could elect someone like Gorman as our next president. He was firm, yet always listened to you before expressing his own opinions. He led by example, was calm, positive and most certainly knew that the price of leadership is not making a lot of enemies. It’s just the opposite. The greatest leaders make a lot of friends.

From Washington, D.C., to Augusta, we don’t have enough Leon Gormans today. The current race for president puts those who are most obnoxious, negative and yes, ridiculous, on the front pages, leaving us with little hope that we’ll be able to bust past the Donald Trumps of the world to get to someone who possesses Leon’s character and leadership ability.

When I get particularly discouraged by all of this, I step outside at night and gaze up into the heavens. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Dana Wilde, in his Backyard Naturalist column published on Jan. 29, in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, wrote a fascinating column about the galaxies. He reported that there around 100 billion stars out there and possibly as many as 400 billion. From Earth, we can see only about 6,000.

He also reported that there are about 200 billion galaxies and that the edge of the universe is around 13.7 billion light-years away. How do they know these things? Incredible! And they say that there is nothing beyond the edge of the universe. I have trouble imaging this. In our world, there is always something on the other side of the wall. Telling me there is nothing beyond the edge of the universe is just — well — confusing. What is nothing like?

On March 20 in the KJ, I read that new calculations in a study by the Royal Astronomical Society indicate that billions of the Milky Way’s stars have one to three planets in the habitable zone where temperatures are right for potentially liquid water and, possibly, life. Wow!

It got me to thinking. What if God actually created a whole bunch of planets with life on them, to see how his experiment might play out in different places? What if we are a team in God’s game?

Now, I confess that I am a very poor sport, notorious in family games. It’s a running joke at Sunday afternoon volleyball games at Maranacook’s gym that “George needs to win.” If we are playing in God’s game, yes, I want to win.

Are we winning now? Are we ahead of the other planets competing in God’s game? What do you think? How many think we are winning? Indeed, I think we are losing badly. We can’t possibly be anywhere near the lead in creating a world that would make God pleased and proud.

Let’s say you are the coach of Team Earth. We’re way behind, and you’ve called a time out to give us new instructions. Can you think of anything you can say that would help us catch up to the leaders in God’s game?

Or let’s imagine that God is actually our coach. He’s called the time out and as we approach the bench, we see the disappointment in his eyes and hear it in his voice. What instructions do you think he’d give us?

Something to think about, while we are trying to avoid the disappointing presidential campaign by gazing up into the amazing, inspiring, intriguing heavens.

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected]. Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.

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